The SIPA Awards are a celebration of photography where Siena becomes the heart of the festival during October and November. The event is organised into personal and collective exhibitions, workshops, seminars and conferences. After five years Luca Venturi has created one of the most important international photography contests in the world. The SIPA Awards provide a unique opportunity for photographers to share their creativity and knowledge with likeminded photographers.
I was asked to speak at the Sipa conference along with six other distinguished photographers. The conference was held in the University of Siena with an audience of 200. I spoke alongside fellow speakers, Mary Calvert (documentary photographer), Philip Coburn (Editorial Photographer), Florian Ledoux (Nature and Wildlife Photographer), Alessio Paduano (Editorial Photographer), Hannes Lochner (Wildlife Photographer) and Constanza Portnoy (Documentary Photographer).
The conference had an overall title of “The Storytelling Power of Photography” and the talks included human impact in the environment, new ways of approaching journalism, social justice in photography, the coverage of migration issues, modern ways of storytelling, ethical storytelling and more.
I spoke about the challenges of being a humanitarian photographer. I recognise the confines of my working practice, being impartial within photojournalism / humanitarian photography, being commissioned by charitable organisations to produce images that are positive to their efforts and balancing my charitable photography with commercial photography. The tiresome debate over the politics of photography is in danger of overshadowing the real challenges of making a difference.
I also sat on the panel for a question and answer session. The conference was attended by captains of the industry and students of photography. It was great to be part of Luca’s vision of sharing photography with the world.
Thanks to Mario Llorca for the photos.
For more details about the conference check out SIPA Awards
My photograph titled “A boy from the crowd” of a Liberian child trying to retrieve his ball is the overall winner of the fifth Siena International Photography Awards, the photography contest that has the widest international participation
Jurors selected the winning image from photographers from 161 countries.
I received my award at an incredible ceremony on Saturday 26th October, in the historic Teatro dei Rinnovati theatre in Siena, Italy. The event was attended by over 300 photographers plus distinguished guests from all over the world, once again consecrating SIPA as one of the most important photographic awards in the world.
The picture was photographed for the peacebuilding organisation, International Alert who works with people directly affected by conflict to build lasting peace. I had been asked to document their work in Liberia where they supported various programmes to build stability.
One of the projects that I covered was the annual Cultural Festival which sees people from difference cultural, linguistic and ethnic groups coming together to celebrate peace in a country that was torn apart by 14 years of brutal conflict.
In this three-day festival, on the outskirts of Monrovia, the crowd was tens of thousands of people. I was interested in photographing the people attending and the West African peacekeeping troops who were keeping order, as well as the performances themselves.
With any subject, I observe what is happening whilst trying to determine how I can best show what is front of me. I have revisited the digital series of photographs to see how I came to this particular photograph. I am normally so immersed in seeing how to frame the picture and capture the moment that I am unaware of everything else.
I started by photographing the soldiers, but then changed to what was more interesting in the crowd. I had been circling this soldier, when I sensed something occurring behind. Suddenly out of the crowd leaned this boy reaching for his precious ball. This was a child who had grown up in war and had good reason to be scared of soldiers and their guns. He wanted to get his ball back, but his eyes were fixed on the soldier. This all happened in the blink of an eye and resulted in this picture, which seems to represent the precariousness of peace, as seen through the eyes of a young child with little understanding of the greater dynamics at play. All he knew was, he wanted his ball back, but also to stay safe.
“In just a few years the Siena International Photo Awards has become one of the most important photographic competitions in the world - explains Luca Venturi, creator and artistic director of the Festival - A success not only linked to the enthusiasm, dedication and passion of the participants , but also to the fact of wanting to keep in the heart of the "Siena Awards" what was the initial dream. From the beginning we had the courage to imagine that Siena could and should become the capital of photography. and by virtue of this 'crazy idea' we have chosen to organize a festival capable of bringing together photographers from all over the world. We are happy to have created a large family, a community with photography at its centre, as a form of international language that connects people of every culture and social background. A dream come true, supported by partners and institutions that together with us continue to invest in the power of imagination and the power that images have to be able to tell stories full of meaning ".
In addition to the shots of the Sipa, until Sunday December 1 the city of the Palio hosts exhibitions and exhibition events with the protagonists of the images and extraordinary reportages made by the most important international photographers. A unique body of images that will make Siena the world capital of photography.
- Exhibition info: Siena International Photo Awards 2019
- When: 28 October - 1 December 2019.
- Where: Siena , various locations .
My photograph of a storm clearing in the Highlands, photographed with Vismedia during a recent assignment for Drax Group plc has been shortlisted in the Motif Collective “Storms” photography awards.
The photograph was taken as I waited for the low clouds to clear from the Cruachan Power station. I looked back down the valley and saw this incredible moment where the storm clouds still lingered but it was clear in the distance.
The Motif Collective was set up by photographers for photographers as an online gallery to host monthly contests devoted exclusively to fine art photography. Their ultimate goal is to present the finer works of talented Photographers from all over the world to help them become successful in one of the most dynamic and challenging times on the global art scene. The Motif Collective online suite of International Fine Art Photography contests gives artists the opportunity to both be recognised and present their best work to the world.
To see all the winners go to - https://www.motifcollective.com/winners-sep-2019.html
I recently photographed The Minster Building in London, which is the latest financial district property to be transformed. It now offers a rejuvenated, premier environment showcasing Grade A facilities, as well as nurturing a much sought-after work/life balance.
Originally built in 1992 to designs by GMW Partnership, The Minster Building has an incredibly striking pink marble neo-gothic façade. BuckleyGrayYeoman are behind the recent redevelopment, as commissioned by Greycoat Real Estate and Ivanhoe Cambridge, which involved shifting the original entrance on the corner of Mincing Lane and Great Tower Street.
A new 30 metre long boulevard leads directly to the reception where there was once the longest run of escalators in Europe. These have now been removed and replaced with an eight-storey central atrium, around which the offices are arranged. The new atrium sets the tone and material palette for the rest of the development, with curved glazing, textured jesmonite panels, marble and bronze combining to create an opulent, airy and uplifting ambiance.
It is not often my brief includes the suggestion to look up and listen, but it is understandable when entering the space. Throughout the entrance and reception, the walls are hand-finished in nearly 2,000m2 of Armourcoat’s polished plaster together with over 600m2 of the company’s Acoustic Plaster System applied to the ceilings. Designed to optimize the acoustics of interior spaces, the Acoustic Plaster system offers an elegant marble based plaster finish while allowing sound energy to pass through the surface. The zero VOC system, which consists of 80% recycled material, achieves class '0' fire rating and a class 'A' Noise Reduction Coefficient rating.
The Minster Building has already attracted some cool new tenants that include The Third Space, which will open its first luxury health club in the square mile, a Crussh juice bar to be near the reception, and Brewdog, whose space will feature a 10 hectolitre brewing facility.